We loved him, you loved him, everybody loved him. Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf was comedy gold in his role of the outrageous Iraqi Information Minister during the 2003 Iraq invasion.
He earned the nicknames Comical Ali and Baghdad Bob for his wild claims and colourful statements, made while Iraq was being invaded and overrun by American and British forces. His smiling demeanour was a delight to behold as all was collapsing around him.
Some of his more fantastic "information" included:
- There are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never!
- My feelings - as usual - we will slaughter them all.
- Our initial assessment is that they will all die.
- I blame Al-Jazeera - they are marketing for the Americans!
- God will roast their stomachs in hell at the hands of Iraqis.
- They're coming to surrender or be burned in their tanks.
- No I am not scared, and neither should you be!
- Are these the Americans? People remain silent and placate the Americans. By God, they only deserve scorn. We slaughtered them yesterday and we will continue to slaughter them.
- I told you yesterday that the shock has backfired on them. Indeed, they are shocked because of what they have seen. No one received them with roses. They were received with bombs, shoes and bullets. Now, the game has been exposed. Awe will backfire on them. This is the boa snake. We will extend it further and cut it in the appropriate way.
- We are not afraid of the Americans.
- Allah has condemned them. They are stupid.
When he surfaced again after the cessation of hostilities, Al-Sahhaf said that he had surrendered to US forces, was interrogated by them and released. He was not charged for his role in Saddam Hussein's government, probably due to his entertainment value.
When asked from where he obtained his information he replied, "authentic sources, many authentic sources" and pointed out that he "was a professional, doing his job".
He was reported to be living in the United Arab Emirates with his family, but in November 2014, Swedish newspaper Expressen posted a video of an ill man, ostensibly Al-Sahhaf in a hospital bed in the UAE, claiming that he was dying.
He is sorely missed.